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Traits of the trade for your managers

Posted by Kyle Smith on 18th Jan 2015

Every business owner or general manager knows or will learn that they cannot accomplish every task for the business on their own. They will have to deligate their tasks out to the assistant managers. Therefore with the assistant managers doing a majority of tasks there are certain traits and skills that you should be looking for.

One of the most important would be that they are always striving to move up. The assistant manager of today is the general manager of tomorrow. If your assistant manager has no desire or ambitions to move up then you might want to reevaluate them.

Every assistant manager just needs to understand the importance of time management and priorities. Every starting manager will need some guidance and deserves some slack to start with. But like in baseball if you get 3 strikes your out, a similar rule should apply to your assistant managers as well. You should help you assistant managers out by establishing the best way for them to use their time and setting priorities. This will also require them to multitask.

Integrity, respect, and adaptability should be something that your AMs also have. Integrity is a trait that is extremely desirable. Merriam-Webster defines integrity as “the quality of being honest and fair” and “firm adherence to a code of especially moral values.” I have always defined it as doing the right thing when no one is around. If you cannot trust your AMs to accomplish a task without you being there it will lead to more headaches for you.

Respect is defined as “a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.” This is a word that your employees should use to describe your AMs. If your employees don’t have respect for you AMs then it could lead to a less productive staff. You also need your AMs management style to adapt to that of the general managers style.

The next traits lay hand and hand in my honest opinion. That is the traits of leadership and communication. It is would be difficult for a general to lead his troops into a successful battle if he cannot communicate with them. Communication is great but if you don’t have the ability to stand out as a leader then the AMs will not move to the next step. In my time in the military it was proven over and over again that as long as you were a confident and could communicate well most instructors would not question you.

The last skills that I will suggest that your managers have are a knowledgeable understanding of business management and finance. This should include several different traits of understanding strategy, decision-making and workflow, and business functions for the business management side of the house. For the finance side of the house they should understand budget, forecast, manage cash flow, understand financial statements, manage business metrics, and etc. There are skills that you can teach to your managers but if they come in with a basic understanding it will make the learning process easier.

This is just a basic list that I have gathered in my searches. Once you have been in the position of general manager or owner long enough you will have a greater understanding of what works best for your company. It was also recommended, and I have done this in the past, to have your potential candidates work that position for part of a day and see how it goes.